By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor football announced Wednesday its high school Class of 2014 football signing class. Nineteen freshmen and four junior college transfers signed their National Letter of Intent to play at Baylor.
“It’s very exciting day, as always, this time of year,” Baylor head coach Art Briles said. “Heath Nielsen [associate athletic director for communications] mentioned we have a top 20 class per ESPN and I think Scout also. If you are into rankings that is a good deal. We are excited about these guys.”
Baylor’s 2014 class is headlined by a plethora of talented wide receivers.
The class is led by Mount Pleasant native K.D. Cannon, a player ranked top 30 and a top four wide receiver by ESPN.
“K.D.’s the smoothest and purest receiver at the high school the level I’ve ever seen,” Briles said. “When the ball’s in his hands, he is as instinctive as anybody I’ve ever been around. They all have great talents they bring to the table.”
Texarkana native Davion Hall, a five-star athlete, Willis native Chris Platt and Houston native Ishmael Zamora round out the wide receiver class.
“Platt’s going to win the 400 for the fourth time in a row – the fastest quarter-miler in America in his age group,” Briles said. “Zamora got second in intermediates last year. Davion Hall is as multiple an athlete as we’ve signed in forever. He can play any position but we’re going to bring him in as a receiver and turn him loose and see what he can do.”
All four wide receivers are ranked in the ESPN Top 300.
“If there is a better receiver class in America then somebody is speaking with forked tongue,” Briles said. “There are not four receivers better than who we signed. Somebody could challenge it, but I’m not going to challenge [Brady] Heslip to a three-point shooting contest because I’m not going to win. These guys are phenomenal athletes and football players.”
Baylor signed five defensive backs in this class: Pfulgerville’s Chance Waz, Mesquite’s Verkedrick Vaughns, Princeton’s Jourdan Blake and junior college transfers Tion Wright and Chris Sanders.
“Defensive back was an area we certainly felt like we had to hit, needed to hit, and did hit,” Briles said. “Once again we’ve got guys on campus we have a whole lot of confidence in, but the talent level is very impressive and that’s where it all starts.”
These signings come after Baylor graduated four of its five defensive backs with significant starting experience.
“The guys we signed and bringing in the two junior college guys at midterm who we really have a lot of confidence in,” Briles said. “We feel like they can come in and compete without question because they’re mature and they’re ready to go.”
One of the more intriguing players in the class is a running back from Ennis named Terence Williams.
Although with a different spelling, Baylor fans may remember that he is the second Terrance Williams to come through Waco, after current Dallas Cowboys wide receiver.
“That’s always been good for us,” Briles said. “He’s another guy that’s a midterm guy that we’re really proud of and on campus. He’s going to be a great football player for us, just as the first one was.”
Baylor signed four highly-rated offensive lineman prospects in Houston’s Blake Blackmar, Houston’s Devonte Jones, Waxahachie lineman Patrick Lawrence and Rockdale’s Josh Pelzel.
The Bears supplement these acquisitions with Lackawanna Junior College transfer Jarrell Broxton, the man many expect to replace All-American left guard Cyril Richardson on the interior of the line.
“As I’ve said many times before, the line is where we always start, maybe with the exception of a quarterback and some other skilled positions,” Briles said. “The game is certainly determined in the trenches. We feel really good about our O-line class. Those are areas where we’re always going to try to be very strong as a team year in and year out. Some of these guys are going to be really outstanding players before all is said and done.”
For the first time, Baylor broadcast its signing day live on the internet for fans to watch. Many fans tuned in to a live feed to watch the National Letters of Intent arrive via fax machine.
“I was right there with them,” Briles said. “I think that’s what you want. If there’s interest you fulfill it. It was certainly good vision by whoever decided to do that because it is neat. I’m glad our fans got to be a part of it.”
The rest of the 2014 signing class is comprised of Kingwood tight end Jordan Feuerbacher, Waco defensive end Jamie Jacobs, Magnolia defensive end Xavier Jones, Houston defensive lineman Ira Lewis, Coppell tight end Blake Mahon, Cibolo defensive end Josh Malin and Mesquite defensive tackle Andrew Morris.